Universal to host exclusive pre-opening fam trips at Epic Universe park

Universal Parks & Resorts is to host a series of pre-opening fam trips to its new Orlando park to educate operator and agent partners before it is unveiled to the public next year.

The advance educationals will be a first for the company, which aims to bolster trade knowledge of Universal Epic Universe ahead of opening and generate anticipation across social media channels.

Speaking at the IPW conference in Orlando, EMEA international vice-president for sales and marketing Alison Montague said she planned to bring “as many trade partners as possible” to the park before its 2025 grand opening.

She also hailed the response to the firm’s online Universal Partner Community, which now has 8,000 European trade members, the majority of whom are from the UK.

Universal Epic Universe will be located on a separate site close to the company’s other Orlando parks and will feature five “immersive worlds” featuring more than 50 attraction, entertainment, dining and shopping experiences.

It will feature three hotels, including the four-star Helios and sister properties Universal Stella Nova Resort and Universal Terra Luna Resort, which will open before the park on January 21 and February 25, respectively.

Dennis Quinn, senior vice-president for hotel commercial strategy at Universal Orlando, said the sister properties were already proving popular with international markets and would offer a mid-point price option for the trade.

Montague added: “Bookings have come in at a steady pace even before details of Epic Universe have been shared.

“Overall we are very pleased with sales which are up year-on-year, and we are also beginning to re-establish an early booking cycle and are seeing strong bookings for 2025 and even into 2026 and 2027.”

Prior to the opening of Epic Universe in 2025, Universal has unveiled new attractions and shows at its existing Orlando parks for 2024.

These include a new Dreamworks Land, which will open on June 14, the same date as a new show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and a new Lagoon Show.

A parade will also return for the first time in four years, on July 3, with a focus on Universal’s film heritage including classics such as Jaws.

On America’s west coast, Universal Studios Hollywood has also unveiled plans for new attractions, including its first outdoor high-speed rollercoaster, which will be themed around the Fast & Furious franchise and is due to open in 2026.

Louis de Joux, senior vice-president of sales, said the coaster and the Super Nintendo World opened in 2023 increased the park’s appeal to different audiences including the “gaming vertical”.

He also hailed the response to the Hollywood Plus Pass, which allows customers to combine Universal with a series of other attractions including the Warner Bros Studio Tour for a reduced fee.

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